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Leave It All Behind

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Washington, Morning

Bill was not expecting to be grilled early in the morning by George and Mack. They were talking to him, not as their Commander in Chief, but as their friend ever since Patrick Donovan’s article exploded.

Initially, they ignored the news but other evidence showed with Hillary reaching over to Bill and touching his face before his speech in Congress about Health Care. Though both Hillary and Bill shrugged off the news, Mack decided to confront Bill with George.

"We need to know what's going on so we can protect you."

Bill looked at them exasperatedly. 

Mack pressed, "If this blew up, how can we ever defend you?"

Bill tipped his chin up. He needed to call Hillary, but he couldn't, not yet though. No, later they would have a meeting. He wondered how she was holding up. 

"What do you want me to say, Mack?"

"Just tell us the truth."

Bill looked at him. Mack told him his thoughts and observations. Mack wasn't wrong. Yes, he and Hillary were having an affair, an affair that was nobody's business but theirs. However, Mack was right. They needed to know the truth so they could protect him. He was sure they wanted to know the truth not because they were in for the gossip but to make sure they could protect him from scandals. It already happened before with Jennifer Flowers. He was glad Mack and George were there to cover him. 

He stood up and brushed his hand through his hair, unsure if he would tell them, and then propped his hands on his waist. He took a deep breath and looked at them.

Mack and George had been his friends since college. They already had proven their loyalty. Besides, they all knew about his affairs.

"Yes, I am having an affair with Hillary."

There was an impregnable silence that followed. There was no emotion on Mack's face as if he was expecting this news. George who was leaning against the wall was the first one to move by pushing himself away from the wall and spoke.

“With Senator Rodham?” George asked as if he wanted it to be re-confirmed.

Bill just looked at him.

Mack gave George a knowing stare. 

“Jesus, so Mack is right. You are having an affair with her. I cannot believe this.” George said. He ran his hand through his hair, “Bill, of all women, you decided to have an affair with Congressman Duke’s girlfriend and the Senate Minority Leader.”

“She is no longer Duke’s girlfriend.”

George shook his head, “It doesn’t matter. Duke would think that you stole her from him. They would use that against you.”

Bill shrugged. “I don’t care about Duke.”

George gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Yeah, you obnoxious son of a bitch. You don’t care about anything as long as you get to sleep with someone.”

“Hey!” Bill called George. “I am not just sleeping with Hillary.”

George raised an eyebrow at him. 

Bill remained quiet. How could even explain that what he felt for Senator Rodham was more than they were thinking? They wouldn’t understand the level of affection he felt for her and he didn’t want to explain because it would further complicate things.

"When did this start?"

Bill shrugged. “We’ve been in touch for quite some time.”

“What happened in Mumbai?”

Bill looked at him incredulously, but George just returned his stare. Bill took a deep breath. It was important for him to disclose this to them.

“I am sharing this because I trust you both. I care deeply about Hillary. Something I know you might not understand. I am sharing this because I want you not just to protect me but to protect her.”

“What happened in Mumbai?” George pressed.

“First time we slept together.”

Bill suddenly thought if it was right that he shared this information with them. “We’ve started as friends and it just happened.”

“So this is just a solid affair with a Minority Senate Leader,” George said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“This is going to be a big scandal, Bill. Not for you perhaps, but Senator Rodham will be receiving a lot of backlash for this.”

“That’s why I want you to protect her.”

George leaned against the wall again, “What made you think that she’s not going to throw you under the bus?”

Bill eyed him. “She won’t.”

“She’s Republican. For all you know, she is already plotting how to take you down,” Mack stated.

George heaved a sigh, “We need to have her sign the NDA.”

Bill’s eyes widened. “No, we don’t have to do that. I trust her.”

Mack looked at him. “It’s for your protection, Bill. We need her to sign the NDA that she’s not going to talk about this. We don’t know what she’s doing, you don’t know what’s going on inside her camp.”

“She’s not dumb. She’s also being asked by the media about what happened between us in Mumbai, why does she need to sign the NDA?”

“Well, remember the Jennifer Flowers?”

Bill heaved a sigh. “This is different.”

“Like Jen—”

Bill gave George a hard stare.

“Look, just tell her that you are having her sign the NDA to protect her as well.”

Bill shook his head, “She’s not going to buy that.”

“You are worried about her not buying your reason?”

Bill just looked down on the tips of his shoes, unsure about that.

“Have her sign the NDA, Bill. It’s for your protection. Unless you want us to ask her to sign it. ”

 

###

Hillary’s Office, Late Morning

"There was no basis of that allegation. The Senator and the President were working together to ensure the passage of the Family Care Act." Jen responded.

"It still doesn't explain why it has to be conducted at night?" 

Jen kept her face cool. "The President is trying to collaborate with the Senator to get the Family Care Act passed without distraction hence the meeting took place in Mumbai because both of them are away from their party and any of the media."

Hillary watched in her office as Jen answered the questions. She heaved a sigh at the questions thrown at Jen suggesting as if they were having an affair or they were doing anything prohibited.

“So what’s really going with the two of you?” Martha asked, Martha was Hillary’s friend. She went to see Hillary and have lunch together. Hillary requested if they could hang around in her office in the meantime until Jen finishes the conference.

“What?” Hillary asked, dragging her eyes away from the television to look at her friend.

“The news has been circulating about the President and you, ever since Mumbai,” Martha observed as she lounged on Hillary’s office couch. 

Hillary gave her a side look, “Nothing is going on between us.”

Martha smiled. “I cannot imagine you being connected with the President though.”

Hillary tilted her head to the side to look at her, “What made you say that?”

Martha narrowed her eyes at her, “I just don’t think that the President is your type.”

Hillary chuckled.  If only her friend knew.

“Tim is the kind of man you like - predictable, dignified, and reliable.”

“Reminds me how dull my types are.”

Martha giggled. “I want to see you with someone like the President though.”

Hillary kept her face blank, despite her surprise. 

“You need someone totally opposite you, someone who could fuck you hard, I guess.”

“Martha—” Hillary chided.

Martha just chuckled. “So you and Tim are really over?”

Hillary sighed. “Yes, we are over, Martha.”

“I cannot imagine you and Tim are over. He’s really crazy about you.”

"I wasn't really into him. You know that it's my dad who has been persuading me to go out with him." Hillary pursued her lips, thinking if she should tell what Tim did to her. “Anyway, let’s go and have lunch. Jen’s conference is already over anyway.”

Martha smiled and stood up, “Finally, but don't think I will stop prying about you and this President.”

***

 

Congressman Duke’s Office, Same Time

Timothy finished watching the conference by Hillary’s Press Secretary. He crossed his arms not believing what he heard. Hillary and the President having a business discussion alone in her room in Mumbai.

The reason why he couldn’t believe it was because he knew Hillary. She would never do business past her working hours. For her to entertain Bill at eleven o’clock was very suspicious. It was either she was funneling information to him or, the one he couldn’t stomach, something was going on between them.

He didn’t want to entertain the idea but he was already putting the pieces together - the Mumbai, her touching his face before Bill’s speech in Congress, and the person who called her before with “B” as initial.

The evidence was already screaming at him but he just didn’t want to entertain it, not until he had strong evidence he could use to confront Hillary. 

He pinched the bridge of his nose, he prayed to God that it wasn’t what he was thinking or else, he might actually do something bad.

***

White House, Near Evening

Despite the news between them, Hillary still went to the White House to attend a meeting with Bill. She didn’t want to skip it because it would seem as if she was affected by the news. She knew the best way to handle it was to continue with her activities.

She and Bill hadn’t talked after the news broke out because there was just no time at all. But she was surprised by how distant he was when she and her team arrived. Totally different from the first time she arrived in the White House with her team. There was no teasing, and no knowing looks. He kept a straight face throughout the time. He was formal when he greeted her and then even kept a very safe distance as he walked with her to the conference room.

At the back of her head, she knew it was because of the news but she couldn’t help but wonder why he suddenly looked really affected by the news when he used to get involved with more scandalous stories before.

The meeting went on normally and the seating arrangement was no longer a mixed bag as it used to be. She was sitting on the side with her team while on the opposite side was Bill and his team. She didn’t want to think something was up, but she could feel in the pit of her stomach that something was definitely wrong. She couldn't wait to know what it was all about so the uneasiness that she felt could leave her.

***

Bill could hardly contain his longing when Hillary arrived. He knew that Mack who was also attending the meeting with Hillary’s team would be watching him like a hawk. He was filled with longing for her. He wanted to ask her how she was and how she was dealing with the news but he couldn’t. 

He had to be stoic and appear as if he didn’t care because he didn’t want to draw some attention. It wasn’t just Mack who was watching him but everyone else. They would watch their every move today. He just couldn’t afford to draw any attention to them. 

He remained quiet throughout the meeting. He spoke only needed. He would steal glances at Hillary if he could because it was all he could do in the meantime.

***

When the meeting ended, Hillary was not expecting anything from Bill because he appeared not to be in the mood. She was surprised, however, when it was time for them to leave, Bill spoke and asked: “Senator Rodham, can I invite you to the Oval Office?”

Hillary looked at him, trying to gauge what he had in mind, but when he remained poker-faced, she nodded. She turned to Jason, “Don’t wait for me, I’ll have my chauffeur take me home.”

They walked side by side quietly until they reached the Oval. Bill motioned for her to go first and when they entered the office, he locked the door.

Hillary watched and waited for him to speak.

Bill turned to her and drank the sight of her, “How are you?”

“I am okay,” She said simply. “How are  you ?” She asked.

Bill nodded, “I am good.”

Hillary chuckled. “You’re lying.”

Bill looked at her and looked at the window behind her. He walked over to the window and closed the blinder. He did the same until he was able to close everything. “There would be people speaking considering that I had you here.”

“They would talk more considering you are shutting the blinders.”

“I have to.”

“Why?”

Bill turned to her and closed the distance between them. He surprised her when he yanked her to him and enveloped her in his embrace, “So I could hold you.”

Hillary’s arms were on her side but gave in when he embraced her. She returned the hold wrapping her arms around him and sighed. “We’re taking too much risk by doing this, Bill. People are already talking.”

He nodded. “I know, I just have to.”

He pulled back and brushed her hair. “I miss you already.”

Hillary framed his face with her hands, “I missed you too.”

Bill placed his hand atop hers. He had to remind himself why he invited her even though all he wanted to do was to kiss her and hold her. He slowly pulled back. “I invited you here because I need to talk to you.”

Hillary felt bereft without his arms, but she kept her ground. It seemed there was something important that he needed to say to her seeing his tense muscles.

“What is it?”

Bill looked at the ceiling first and then looked at her, “We need to protect ourselves, Hillary.”

Hillary kept a straight face, so he continued. “This relationship... this will soon leak.” He held his breath and went to deliver what he needed to say, “There’s something that I need you to do.”

Hillary felt something in her gut, telling her that she wouldn’t like it.

Bill exhaled and said, “I need you to sign an NDA.”

Hillary looked at him as if waiting for him to tell her that it was just a joke, but when Bill remained standing, she realized that he wasn’t kidding at all.

“Go fuck yourself,” Hillary said, turning around to walk away but Bill was quick and reached for her arm.

“You don’t get it. I only wanted—“

Hillary pulled her arm from his hold, “You bastard! I trusted you and you’ll do this to me?!” 

Bill wrapped his arms around her, holding her captive in his embrace. “Hillary, listen to me I only want to do this so—”

“Get off me!” She shouted. 

“Listen to me, please!” Bill implored. 

Hillary glared at him, “If you don’t take your arms around me, I will shout.”

“I will let you go but promise me you will listen to what I have to say,” Bill pleaded. 

“You don’t get to give me conditions, Bill." She stressed. He remained quiet, so she added: "Let go of me, you bastard!”

“Please, I just want you to listen to me for a second.”

Hillary gave in because she knew that he wouldn't let go. She nodded. Bill loosened his arms, then Hillary pulled her arm and swung, hitting him across the face.

“If there’s anyone who should be asking for an NDA, it should be me!” Hillary retorted, her eyes glassy with tears. She couldn’t believe that Bill didn’t trust her enough and thought that she would be the one to spill about their relationship.

Her face contorted with anger and sadness. “You don’t know what I will lose if I spoke about our relationship. I risked a lot for you!" She looked at him accusingly. "I went despite my hesitation and despite the danger. I didn't even consider what I will lose by being with you." She bit the insides of her mouth to prevent her from sobbing. "You don’t get to tell me to sign an NDA, Bill.”

“Hillary—“ Bill implored, reaching for her, but she held up her hands stopping him.

“I trusted you, but it seems that you don’t trust me enough, Bill.” She said before her voice break. She stormed out before she would allow him to see her tear up.

***

Congressman Duke’s Office, Night-Time

Tim leaned against his chair drinking his whiskey. It was his fourth glass. He was trying to dull the ache he felt in his chest. He shed some tears earlier but he wouldn’t be shedding another. He felt miserable and broken. He would, however, get his last laugh on this. Hillary thought she could fool him. In the end, she would always belong to him. She would return to him.

Tim pressed the cold tumbler against his head, his eyes landed on the table. He could see the envelop where the photos were stored. He had enough looking at them. He already knew. He already knew the damn truth.

He didn't expect that he would be getting the result of his private investigator's work soon. But he called to tell him that he already has the truth. He said that he could no longer wait to send it to him after seeing the press conference that Hillary's camp did. So he sent him the images.

Tim's hands were shaking when he received the envelope. A part of him was hoping it was someone else. A part of him was hoping it was just nothing. He took out the images inside the envelope. There were five images. All in black and white. 

Despite the grainy texture of the image and the lack of color. They were very recognizable. The first image of three black vans parked outside Hillary's house. The second image, a man alighting the second van wearing a sports jacket and cap. The third one a close-up image of the guy’s profile. Tim's eyes widened because even with lack of lighting, but the moonlight reflecting on the man's face was enough to tell him that it was indeed Bill. He couldn’t mistake that nose nor that profile. The fourth image was of a silhouette of a seemingly couple locked in an embrace. The last one of Bill leaving Hillary’s home.

After seeing the images, all Tim felt was a stabbing pain. Hillary betrayed him. How could she do this when he made her? He was the very reason why she got elected, and why she was the Minority Leader.

Anger followed by the knowledge that he was duped, but he knew he had the key to ruin everything for Hillary and Bill. But he wouldn’t use this evidence to ruin them though, he would, however, use it to get Hillary back. 

She would go back to him and he was sure of that, and then he would exact his revenge on her and on the President.